Buzzed Books #93 by Wanda Fuentes
Kimberly Dark’s Love and Errors
Kimberly Dark’s Love and Errors is an extremely compelling read that is enjoyable despite its heavy themes. Emotions rage on each page as victims, survivors, abusers, and bystanders perceive abuse differently, speaking to each other and themselves in the midst of being. Dark creates a world where breathing is an occupation and each new turn is another battle that must be won to live freely the next day.
Dark’s tone alternates between comic despair (“I’ll drown myself in that toilet”) and frank insight (“She is young / She is alive”). Trauma’s clinging offspring express themselves at different timelines of survivor’s journeys. Women frozen within trauma’s grip (“could’ve thrust / the stick into his belly / but for what? / More men in the next room.”) without any exit. Others after escaping its physical hold, remain vigilant to protect themselves and others from trauma’s snare (“I will not end up in a Mexican jail today / because she is a threat to maleness / and I need to be shown the error of my ways.”). Family members battle pain’s all-consuming dependency (“to be cast / as the cause of pain, and watch it become all / she was.”) seeking ways to extend life and love. All throughout, Love and Errors boldly penetrates straight into the war within the soul-seeking out the truths and myths of life beyond pain.
Love and Errors contains 38 poems that unravel the traumas of sexual violence, damaged families, cultural injustice, and caregiver burdens. From childhood rape to struggles of married life, Dark illuminates the various paths of survivors through girls, women, lovers, and siblings—independent and dependent. All throughout, Dark expresses an underlying message that even the worst relationships and violating memories can become a source of new strength and hope.
Relationships between trauma’s complex emotions and the body’s normal healing process are suggested (“I am made to be torn down / my pride to be shredded / I heal / get new skin / become new / beauty / is in the living”). These familiar comparisons bring forth hope as, with time, all things heal. Dark opens the door out of isolation, as one realizes they belong to a unique community, (“The way we hold our love / and errors, expectations / rooted into common ground; that’s how / we find each other and become capable / of doing what we feel we must do”) that struggles with fear and pain. By the end, readers are presented with new skills, viewpoints, and knowledge of a community which needs them—and they it.
Wanda Fuentes is a poet and social worker who lives in Orlando, Florida.